arca swiss discovery : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

At my urging, one of my students purchased an Arca Swiss Discovery camera (I own a classic F and love it). She found that the camera's front standard does not have geared focus and is quite stiff so it is not be possible to make subtle focus adjustment. Sure everything can be done with the back standard but it would be nice to use the front. Have others had this experience? Will it loosen up in time? lubricant?? Thanks

-- David Goldes (, November 08, 2001


has she tried focusing with the rear standard? Frankly I'm surprised that the front standard doesn't have geared focus, are you sure it isn't just locked?

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, November 08, 2001.

I also have the Discovery, and there is definitely no front geared focus (I checked the B&H web site to verify I haven't been overlooking a much-desired feature). I just pulled mine out, and while it isn't geared, I don't have much problem sliding it minute amounts (although it certainly isn't something to try from under the dark cloth). Arca has rubber in the "clasp" that holds the standard to the monorail, so I don't know what lubricant would do.

I honestly haven't tried to solve this problem, but I wonder if a second rear standard could be used in place of the front standard? Other than the fact that one is geared and the other is not, they appear identical to me. The only problem with that, of course, is that they seem rather pricey.

Hopefully someone with more experience with their Discovery than I have can provide some additional insight.

P.S. David, are you in Mpls? The MCAD email was a giveaway. I live in S. Mpls and was wondering how many others there are around here.

-- Jennifer Waak (, November 08, 2001.

Well, I live in Golden Valley, close enough? Apparently a community of us large format users in the Twin Cities.

As to the question, the Discovery does not have front geared focus. That was one of the reasons I have steered away from it. That and the fact that by the time you add an extension rail to make use of a 305mm lens and a few other odds and ends and you are approaching the cost of the F line.

I have decided that the Sinar F2 may be a better choice for me. I rented one at West Photo for a day and it is not that bulky at least compared to my old Omega. The F2 can be purchased new for about $1200 if you work with a direct importer or overseas supplier.

-- Dave Schneider (, November 08, 2001.

I purchased a Discovery. All movements are and have always been smooth and easy. It may be that something is binding that shouldn't. I would suggest that she take it back to where she purchased it for some resolve. Or call/email Jeff at Badger Graphic Sales ( or the guys at Robert White ( They may have some insight into the problem she's encountering. Yes, the front standard is not geared, I use it for rough focus and the rear for fine focus. It is actually faster to focus than the F-Line in that you don't have to wind out either or both standards just for rough focus; an advantage I find useful in fading light while switching lenses. But, if she can't shove the front standard out than this advantage isn't achieved.

-- Gary Jones (, November 08, 2001.

The front focus is not geared. This was a way to keep the price down on the Discovery model.

-- Jeff Taugner/ Badger Graphic Sales (, November 08, 2001.

Gee... I always thought this was a neat feature... I often wish I could move my front standard more quickly, since I do that mostly on changing lenses and do all of my focusing with the rear standard.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (, November 08, 2001.

You don't need gearing on the Arca Swiss Discovery. The camera is so smooth that small changes can be made quickly. I never focus with the front standard so I don't care about gearing. I just lock it down at my regular spot and use the back to focus. Did you try turning the knob more? The camera does get a little loose but it still works well. I have no regards with this cameras. Its really good but parts are harder to rent than Sinar in Toronto. I can do EVERYTHING with 150mm lens by the way.

-- David Payumo (, November 09, 2001.

Thanks for all the input which I have forwarded to the Discovery user. Arca-Swiss suggested tightening down the front standard extra tightly for 24 hrs. as a means to loosen it up.


-- David Goldes (, November 11, 2001.

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